Leopard Geckos - Great First Lizards
Why Leopard Geckos Make A Great First Lizard Pet
Leopard Geckos - Great First Lizard
Leopard geckos are one of the ideal first lizards for people looking to get into reptiles or for those who have children. The ease of care associated with leopard geckos and the dynamic colors and patterns they come in make them an attractive species that has drawn even the most experienced reptile enthusiast into owning one or two.
Unlike many other species of reptile, leopard geckos do not have any special lighting requirements, which can be costly. Many enthusiasts use aquarium lighting, ordinary household bulbs or even ambient light already existing in the room to illuminate their gecko enclosure. While they don't have special lighting requirements, they do require a photoperiod like all living species. This simply means that you will need to create a "daytime" and a "nighttime" for your gecko. You can learn more about their lighting requirements in our Lighting Section.
Housing a leopard gecko can be done many ways. One of the appealing aspects of this species is that they don't require large housing units that reptiles like iguanas require. You can learn more about their housing requirements in our Housing Section.
Heating a leopard gecko enclosure is simple and is typically done using under tank heaters, which are readily available at your local pet store (LPS) and through online retailers. You will need to create a heat gradient for your gecko and this is all covered in our Heating Section.
Leos take to handling very well, though they can be skittish when they are young. Care needs to be taken while handling because leopard geckos can and will drop their tails if they are mishandled or if children grab them by their tails. While the tail will eventually grow back, it will never look as attractive as the original tail. You can learn more about how to properly handle your leopard gecko in our Handling Section.
Leopard geckos are insectivores and that means you will need to feed your gecko insects. This can be a turn-off for many people but it is actually pretty easy to do. Most leopard geckos can be conditioned to eat from a shallow bowl. This is how I feed my Leos. mealworms, which you can buy at your local pet store can then be placed in the bowl. This will allow your gecko to eat the mealworms when he or she is hungry. You will also need to utilize other feeder insects to ensure your gecko is getting all of its required nutrients. We cover feeding leopard geckos under our Feeding Section.
Water for your gecko should be provided in a shallow dish since this species are not swimmers. The dish should be shallow enough that your gecko can walk around in it and easily exit the dish if it wanders into it. The water should be changed regularly to ensure it is clean.
There is one drawback to owning leopard geckos and that is that they are a nocturnal species. Most (not all) leopard geckos become active when their lights go out. This can make them difficult to observe, especially if you have children who want to watch them all the time. I have some Leos that have adapted to my schedule and they are very active once they hear me in their room. Some of them are so adept at being handled that they greet me at the front of their tubs. I can simply place my hand in their enclosure and they climb aboard ready for some "out" time, which is what I refer to it as. I have other geckos that remain in their hides when the lights are on and will only become active when it is dark. There is no way of knowing how your gecko will behave. It is best to assume that they will only be active at night since this is their normal behavior.
The care sheet, or rather care guide found on this website, offers every bit of information you would need to know to properly care for your leopard gecko. I have owned leopard geckos for over 15 years and the information I share has not only been researched but is how I care for my leopard geckos. I have attempted to make the care guides index as user-friendly as possible and cover as much information as I thought would help someone along. If you have children, feel free to print out the Leopard Gecko Coloring Pages we offer (Don't worry, just like this care information, they are free!). If you still have questions on how to properly care for your Leo you can post them within our Leopard Gecko Forums and someone will be able to lend you some suggestions, ideas or outright answer your questions. You will need to Log-In or Sign-Up on the website to post, but that is free as well.
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Author: Richard Brooks